OK before you say another word the clue is in the word “profession”. So please, if you say “yes, I know my profession is car sales” – then I submit to you that you do not know what your profession is. You might be a car sales person, but your profession is sales – not cars. If you are good you can sell anything not just cars. All right, so I can hear you from here saying “DUH”!! Well before you say that ask yourself – what is my profession? For instance, I have sold staffing, I have sold executive coaching, I have sold outplacement, I have sold performance managements systems. Theoretically, if I am a good salesperson, I can sell any type of services – someone might hire me because of my ability to identify, penetrate and close deals involving the service sector.
Some professions are easy to identify, doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc. Others are not so easy – it is important to think about what and how you do your job vs. what industry you are in. Here is another example: you work in a factory and you make car parts. Well, your profession is manufacturing, not manufacturing car parts. Presumably, if you can work with machinery to create one specific object, your skills can be transferred to make another. What is important is how you describe your value. I make so many pieces per hour without causing any shrinkage (waste). I create 10% more than my daily quota? I received employee of the week/month twice. I was awarded best attendance 5 years in a row. Have I mentioned car parts yet? (No) – do you get my drift?
Why am I beating this thing to death?
Well, because you have to understand not only the industry you are in, but also the profession. Then the next step is to identify the traits that make you successful. Once you have done all of this, your job horizons become much greater. If you can identify your core competencies, then you can expand your job search beyond the industry you have been in. For example, if you have been in the cruise industry for many years once you outline your core competencies and ROI you can then create a resume that resonates with anyone needing someone with you skill set. So, even if you have been in the accounting department of a cruise line for 25 years, your skill set is accounting not the cruise industry. Once you show a prospective employer that your value is in your ability to solve issues across the board, then you become more versatile.
Oh, and whilst I am thinking about it, don’t forget to create a customized resume for each position you apply for. Use the key words they use to identify the work you have done so that your resume will be selected when the talent acquisition software does its search.